Home | News    Sunday 25 July 2004

Central African Republic offers to help Khartoum in Darfur crisis

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KHARTOUM, July 25 (AFP) — Central African Republic President Francois Bozize wrapped up a two-day visit to Sudan on Sunday with a pledge to help his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Beshir resolve the crisis in the western Darfur region.

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Francois Bozize

At a joint press conference, Bozize also praised efforts by Beshir and the president of neighboring Chad, Idriss Deby, to bring peace to the region, where black rebel groups are fighting government troops and allied Arab militia.

Khartoum has come under growing international pressure to get to grips with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, the United Nations estimates that up to 50,000 people have died and about 1.2 million have been driven from their homes since February 2003.

Over two rounds of official talks, Bozize and Beshir discussed developments in Darfur as well as preparations for presidential elections in the Central African Republic early next year.

Beshir underscored the need to control the two countries’ common border, traversed regularly by shepherds and other members of tribes indigenous to both sides.

If the common border is not controlled, "it will be easy for the Darfur outlaws and smugglers of weapons to move freely between Darfur and Central Africa," Beshir said.

Beshir announced that CAR would soon have a consulate in Nyala, capital of west Darfur, while Sudan would open one in northern CAR in a bid to control and facilitate border movements.

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